7 Ways to Dodge the Holiday Bulge

dodge the bulge sm

Is it inevitable that you’ll gain a few pounds this holiday season? It doesn’t have to be. This time of year is filled with bright lights, decorations, gifts, family, excitement and added stress. And with holidays, it’s easy to get caught up with all of the activities and give up on self-control when it comes to eating. With some planning and determination, you don’t have to welcome the New Year with a few extra pounds around your waistline.


1. Choose the Right Attitude

If you find yourself already resolved to gaining a few pounds this season and know you’re going to start working on losing weight in the new year, then you’ll be facing a huge hurdle when January first comes around. So stop the “tomorrow” thinking right now and choose a healthy attitude.

Eating healthy takes concentrated effort. However, it’s not impossible and the benefits are so worth it. It’s not about depriving yourself but making simple choices to be healthy and fit.


2. Plan, Plan and Plan

Eating out is part of celebrating during the holidays so make decisions on what you want to enjoy before you get to the restaurant. Restaurants have nutrition information for each dish on their website so look up your options before you go out. Make your choice before you get there.

If you can’t check beforehand, many restaurants have menus that have the calories listed next to each entrée. If the menu does not have calories listed, you can ask the waitress for a separate calorie menu with the nutritional information.

If you’re going out after work with your friends, don’t skip a meal because you think that it will save you the calories.

“This strategy backfires, because you come to the meal starving and wind up eating way more than you ever intended,” says Lauren Schmitt, MS, Registered Dietician, Certified Personal Trainer. Low blood sugar causes you to feel tired, not think clearly and it wears down any ability to make a healthy choice.

One option is to start eating healthier in the fall.

“Try to start eating healthy before the holidays so when the holidays roll around, you’re already set in a world-class routine that you’re familiar with,” says Steve Siebold, author of “Die Fat or Get Tough: 101 Differences in Thinking Between Fat People and Fit People.” 


3. Move More

Exercise makes you feel good and allows you to better handle your daily stress. Taking extra care of yourself can be hard during the holidays because it may feel like one more thing to do. Add in a simple change like parking farther away from the store. All malls have escalators but you don’t have to stay stationary while on the moving stairs. You can walk up or down the escalator just to get your blood pumping a bit more.

Invite your kids to exercise with you while you exercise along with the trainer on the exercise video. Most people make New Year’s resolutions about exercise but you can start today. Remind yourself how great you feel after you finish even though sometimes it’s hard to get started. It’s also great for your kids to see you making healthy choices.


4. Just Say “No, Thank You”

Often times the hostess offers food or an additional serving to you out of good intentions. The host wants people to enjoy themselves at their party. But you don’t have to have seconds or you can choose the lower calorie food in the first place.

“If someone questions you or pressures you to indulge, simply say, “No thank you. I’m working hard on improving my health and I’m watching what I eat,”’ says Siebold.


5. Enjoy Socializing with Others

Before you leave for a party, eat something light or some protein like string cheese, a small handful of nuts or yogurt. Then concentrate on the people at the party and not the food. It’s easy to eat out of nervous habit but focus your attention on friends and family members.

When you get to the party, check out the food and mentally make some choices. Decide on where you want to spend your calories. Pick a special dish that you only find this time of year but forgo all the other various holiday dishes. You can still enjoy good food and chat with others about it. You can always bring a new healthy recipe that you’ve found online. Be ready to share the yummy recipe with other guests.


6. Forgive Yourself

If you overeat, you may kick yourself mentally for making a mistake. Forgive yourself and start over at the next meal. “It is not just one unhealthy meal or even one unhealthy day that leads to weight gain,” says Schmitt.


7. Make New Holiday Traditions

You can make new holiday traditions with your family like working in a soup kitchen together or going on a long hike as a family. You can start a certain holiday craft tradition that the entire family can get involved in or hang out at a bookstore together. Let your kids get in on the decision-making and see what they want.

The holidays are meant for celebration, family, traditions, food and fun. Eating on the run, food gifts and parties galore are going to happen regardless of careful planning. However, you can make the holidays merrier by making smart and healthy choices.


---------------------------
Jan Udlock is a freelance writer and mom of five. She’s always looking for easy tips to add to healthy eating.

Published: January 2013

Foods with Immune-Boosting Potential

Foods with Immune-Boosting Potential

Flu season is here, so take precautions — the flu can be more serious than most people think. Did you know that there are foods that can help reduce your chances of getting sick? Dr. Neal Malik of . . .

Read more

10 Ways to Create Healthy Habits this Summer (and Always)

10 Ways to Create Healthy Habits this Summer (and Always)

Recent research shows that childhood obesity rates continue to rise in the U.S. Weight is not the most important factor when it comes to health, but in most cases, BMI (body mass index) is an accura . . .

Read more

Heart Health: Screen Your Teen

Heart Health: Screen Your Teen

San Diego couple turns personal tragedy into triumph by offering free heart screenings to local teens and young adults through the Eric Paredes Save A Life Foundation. Eric Paredes was entering his . . .

Read more

Family Fun Runs and 5Ks in San Diego County

Family Fun Runs and 5Ks in San Diego County

Walk for Water (Mission Bay/Tecolote Shores North Park) - AprilBring your family and friends to Mission Bay to experience the trek that millions of women and children around the world make every d . . .

Read more

Health & Wellness Guide 2019

Health & Wellness Guide 2019

Make your family’s health a priority this new year with our 2018 Health and Welllness Guide. Search for pediatricians, family spa and massage services, gymnastics classes, dentists and more. &n . . .

Read more

How to Support Kids When a Parent Has Cancer

How to Support Kids When a Parent Has Cancer

Many people know how to help friends or family members who have been diagnosed with cancer or another life-threatening or chronic disease. But when the diagnosed individual is a parent who is increasi . . .

Read more

What To Do When Mom Has the Flu

What To Do When Mom Has the Flu

Winter can be wonderful. Holiday traditions, family gatherings, travel … and germs. Unfortunately it’s also the peak season for colds and the flu, but busy moms can be especially susceptible if . . .

Read more

13 Ways to Comfort a Friend with Cancer

13 Ways to Comfort a Friend with Cancer

When a friend receives a cancer diagnosis, it is normal to worry and wonder how to help. Follow these suggestions to support and bring comfort to your friend as she faces cancer. Sharpen your listen . . .

Read more

Understanding Eating Disorders in Kids

Understanding Eating Disorders in Kids

Fueled by anxiety and depression, bullying, sports, and feelings of inadequacy in an appearance-driven culture, eating disorders continue to rise among young people. Early intervention is key to suc . . .

Read more

How Digital Devices Affect Eyes: What you need to know about Computer Vision Syndrome

How Digital Devices Affect Eyes: What you need to know about Computer Vision Syndrome

Does your technology-fixated child ever complain of dry, irritated eyes? What about blurry vision, headaches, light sensitivity, neck and shoulder pain, or fatigue? You might look to his electronic . . .

Read more

Rejuvenate Yourself

Rejuvenate Yourself

You do it all every day: get the kids to school on time, work, shop, check homework, cook nutritious meals and chauffeur. Caring for everyone else often leaves little time for you—but rejuvenating y . . .

Read more

How to Lower Your Child's BMI

How to Lower Your Child's BMI

If your child’s pediatrician has alerted you that his body mass index (BMI) is too high, there are steps you can take to encourage a healthier lifestyle. Family Fitness
Your child will exempli . . .

Read more

Just Say No to Vaping

Just Say No to Vaping

Get to know the dangers of vaping and e-cigarettes. E-cigarettes contain potentially addictive, dangerous toxins. Would it surprise you to know that they come in kid-friendly flavors like bubble gu . . .

Read more

5 Asthma Superfoods

5 Asthma Superfoods

If you have asthma, keeping an emergency inhaler and other treatments on hand can help quickly relieve symptoms so you can breathe easier. But there is evidence that foods containing certain compoun . . .

Read more

Eat better, move more, think smart

Eat better, move more, think smart

Rejuvenate in Six WeeksEat better • Move more • Think smart More than 50 percent of Americans are overweight or obese; one in three children is overweight or at risk of becoming overweight. Set a . . .

Read more

How Artificial Sweeteners Can Actually Pack on the Pounds

How Artificial Sweeteners Can Actually Pack on the Pounds

How artificial sweeteners can actually pack on the pounds We read it in newspapers and see it on the nightly news; even Hollywood is responding with various spin-offs of the NBC hit reality show . . .

Read more

7 Ways to Dodge the Holiday Bulge

7 Ways to Dodge the Holiday Bulge

Is it inevitable that you’ll gain a few pounds this holiday season? It doesn’t have to be. This time of year is filled with bright lights, decorations, gifts, family, excitement and added stress . . .

Read more

Where Have All the Active Kids Gone?

Where Have All the Active Kids Gone?

You’ve heard the news: Today’s children are declining in health and gaining more weight than ever before. Childhood obesity rates have tripled within the last 30 years. Currently, one child in f . . .

Read more

How To Find the Right Pediatrician

How To Find the Right Pediatrician

Finding the right pediatrician for your family can daunting. But by researching options and defining priorities, you can find a pediatrician you feel confident and comfortable with. Here are some ti . . .

Read more

The Sweet Tooth of America's Children

The Sweet Tooth of America's Children

The Sweet Tooth of America's ChildrenAdded Sugars White sugar, brown sugar, honey, molasses, brown rice syrup and high-fructose corn syrup—what do these foods have in common? They are all contri . . .

Read more

San Diego Family Magazine Logo

Be Family Informed – Sign up for our Newsletters below!